Liberals and the Looming Big Money Problem Facing Higher Education

John Rosenberg:

Today’s liberals not only tolerate but encourage colleges and universities to give preferences based on race (see affirmative action and the College Board’s new “adversity” score). Now they want to prohibit giving preferential admissions treatment based on … well, it’s not completely clear, but family wealth comes pretty close. As a result, many defenders of academic freedom — at least many occasional defenders of academic freedom — are forced to choose among inconsistency, hypocrisy, or embarrassing silence.

Responding to the recent bribery and cheating admissions scandal, last week, Senator Ron Wyden (D, OR) introduced the College Admissions Fairness Act. It would “cover situations where a child’s family makes large donations to the university the child attends. For donations to a university to be fully tax deductible, the institution must establish a policy that bars consideration of family members’ donations or ability to donate as a factor in admissions.”

Specifically, the legislation would in effect require colleges and universities to have a written policy that “prohibits as a factor in admissions decisions the consideration of direct or indirect donations from an applicant or family member of an applicant, and the financial ability of an applicant or family member of an applicant to make a donation.” [Emphasis added]